Digestive and colon problems affect millions of Americans daily. And considering how our diet seem to get even worse, these problems are going to negatively impact even more people.
The food you eat and the diet you follow are fundamentally important for the health of your digestive system. Our digestive system includes throat, mouth, stomach, esophagus, liver, gallbladder, small and large intestines, pancreas and anus.
To function properly, the digestive system needs good and proper nutrients. The normal processes of your digestive system can be greatly influenced if you eat more unhealthy foods and less healthy foods.
If your diet is the normal “civilized” diet of our society today, then may want to hear about the horror cabinet of digestive issues – and what you can do to improve your digestive health.
In this article, we’ll talk about the myriads of problems that can arise as a result ofbecause of a less than optimal stellar diet and what you can do to improve your digestive health.
Here’s how an unhealthy diet can affect your digestive system
Your risk of constipation may increase if there is an absence of enough dietary fiber in your diet. You may experience a lack of bowel movement, straining and difficulty in eliminating dry, hard stools. Also, the chances of your feeling bloated also increase.
That’s why it’s important to include a lot of dietary fiber in your everyday diet. The fiber in your diet helps in moving the stool along the digestive tract. In the absence of it, stool moves slowly and lets the large intestine to absorb all the water content. If you include lots of fiber in your diet, exercise regularly and drink plenty of water (80oz or more), this will for sure help you experience less constipation.
Your risk of gallstones increases if you do not include enough fiber in your diet and eat a lot of high-cholesterol and high-fat food. In your right abdomen, the organ that sits below your liver is the gallbladder. Gallstones are actually small and solid substances that are formed here.
Your liver makes a certain kind of liquid known as bile and this is what the solid substances are made up of. Bile contains water, bilirubin, proteins, cholesterol, fats and salts. The bile is stored in your gallbladder. It gets released when your body needs bile salt in order to break up fat.
3. Diverticular disease
The risk of diverticular disease increases with constipation. Formed from the colon, diverticula are protruding pockets. When the muscles of the colon face difficulty in passing stool along the tract and require using more pressure, then these pouches are formed. Compared to people who include less fiber in their diet, people who include high fiber in their diet have less risk of developing diverticula.
If diverticula get infected, it may lead to inflammation of the diverticula or diverticulitis. If you experience these following symptoms of diverticulitis, go see a doctor: vomiting, nausea, fever, diarrhea, constipation, bloody stools and constant pain in the lower left side of the abdomen.
The Struggles And How You Avoid Them (Or Alleviate Them)
Indulge in a high-fiber diet
According to nutritionists, if you want to improve your digestive health, then you will always have to make sure that you consume a diet that is rich in foods that are rich in fiber – like e.g. vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fruits.
The food you eat, keeps moving through the digestive tract if you have a high-fiber diet. This lowers the chance of constipation. Also, different digestive conditions can be prevented or treated through a high-fiber diet such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulosis and hemorrhoids.
Vegetables and fruits contain a lot of fiber. Also, they contain plenty of nutrients that help in preventing inflammation, removes substances that can have a harmful effect on your body and act as antioxidants.
According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, about half of the Americans whose age were above 60, were affected by diverticulitis. Fiber helps in preventing diverticulitis and also decreases the risk of colon cancer. Folate is provided by vegetables and fruits, which is a B-complex vitamin and acts as a helping hand in lowering the risk of colon cancer.
Eat lean meats and fish
While protein is important for maintaining a healthy diet, fatty cuts of meat can result in having uncomfortable digestion. Instead buy fish which is awesome all around. And while buying meat, choose lean cuts including skinless poultry and pork loin.
Don’t eat too much foods that are high in saturated fats
Your digestive process may slow down if you eat foods that are high in saturated fats, leading to constipation. Not only that, according to studies, saturated fats (especially those of animal origin) have been linked to higher chances of colorectal cancer.
Add probiotics in your diet
Similar to the bacteria that are naturally present in your digestive tract, probiotics in food (like Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Yoghurt, etc.) help in keeping your body healthy by fighting the ill effects of stress, antibiotics and unhealthy diet. Also, there are several other ways in which probiotics can help you such as strengthening your immune system, breaking down lactose, giving nutrient absorption a boost and treating IBS. Another good source of probiotics is kefir.
Include soluble as well as insoluble fiber
As fiber is great for your digestive system, it is essential that you include both type of fiber in your diet. Soluble fiber prevents too watery stools by drawing in water. On the other hand, insoluble fiber helps in adding bulk to the stools as cannot be digested by the body. You can get insoluble fiber from whole grains, vegetables and wheat bran. On the other hand, good sources of soluble fiber include legumes, seeds, nuts and oat bran.
For the health of your digestive system, it is important that you drink plenty of water regularly. Water is pulled by fiber into the colon so that it can create bulkier, softer stools enabling them to pass through easily.
Eat on time
Your digestive system will be of great shape if you eat your daily meals and snacks at the same time each day. This includes your breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner.
If you exercise regularly, then your food will have no difficulty in moving through the digestive system, thereby preventing constipation. Also, are you trying to lose some weight? Then exercising regularly is already a big part of it.
As you can see, increasing your intake of fiber is one of the easiest and healthiest ways you can improve digestive and colon health. However, make sure that you increase it slowly, taking your time. Don’t rush and increase it all at once. Otherwise, it can have a negative impact on your colon health by causing an intestinal blockage.
Men who are below the age of 50, should focus on having 38 grams of whole grains per day. Women who are below the age of 50, should take 25 grams of whole grains per day. Men above 50 years old should take 30 grams and women above 50 years old should take 21 grams whole grains per day.
Follow these tips and keep digestive system problems at bay.